COVID-19 Update #16 - A message of thanks

Photograph of boxes of PPE in the back of the van and a photograph of a message of support

Dear faculty, staff, residents and learners,

This weekend, we learned that the thousands of pieces of PPE that you donated began to be used by health care providers in our region. Thank you so much for offering up your lab supplies and making a difference to those providing care.

Between donations from Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and other faculties on campus, in total, nearly 1,200 N95 masks, 6,000 surgical masks, 2,120 boxes of gloves, and hundreds of head coverings, gowns and shields were donated to London Health Sciences Centre, St. Joseph’s Health Care London and other care facilities in the region. This will go a long way to support our colleagues who are providing care.

During the past week, you continued to support learners and one another as we began our fourth and for some, your fifth week of self-isolation and working virtually. Thank you for your ongoing support.

We also launched the Schulich Wellbeing Program, the Western Undergraduate Summer Research Internship and the COVID-19 Response Fund. A decision was also confirmed that our incoming Graduate Orthodontics residents will begin their training in September rather than the typical June start time.

Together with Dr. Jayne Garland, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, a decision was made to cancel the 2020 See the Line event, which typically takes place during the summer months. Eric Lindros, the honorary chair of the event, supported this decision, and we are all looking forward to planning for our 2021 event.

Behind the scenes, the Senior Leadership Council continues to meet several times a week to review and make decisions related to the pandemic as they arise impacting on our students, residents and faculty in London and in Windsor.

In the coming weeks, I expect we will be able to confirm more details around convocation, progression of students, clinical experiences in our education programs, faculty appointments and a number of our summer research programs.

Meanwhile, many of our faculty and learners continue to provide information to our community about the COVID-19 virus and offer supports and resources where possible. This week Professor Greta Bauer, PhD, had an important op-ed published in The New York Times about a disturbing trend of people avoiding physical distancing or hosting a version of “chickenpox parties,” where non infected people mingle with an infected person in an effort to catch the virus. She also joined Professor Eric Arts, PhD, for a webinar, answering important research questions related to COVID-19.

Drs. Rich Cherry, Rob Leeper and Taryn Taylor shared the critical role simulation is playing in training frontline staff during this time. I was also pleased to share more information about COVID-19 research that I’m working on with Professor Janet Martin, Director of the MEDICI Centre, on assessing the risk of surgery during a pandemic. Puneet Bhatnagar, a student in our Internationally Trained Dentists Program (Class of 2020), published an op-ed about what the future holds for dentistry when the pandemic is over.

I continue to be grateful to all of you for continuing to support the work of the School, for observing the critical public health directives, for volunteering and leading several community initiatives and for supporting one another through the pandemic.

I also want to thank all of the faculty and residents who are providing care in our hospitals, clinics and in the assessment centres.

I want to remind you that our leadership team can be reached by phone (519.661.2111, ext. 89258), if you have any concerns or questions.

If you or any of your colleagues do need to reach out for additional support, I want to remind you of the resources available:

Learner Experience – for medicine and dentistry students and residents
Western Student Experience – for BMSc and graduate students
Workplace Health – for staff and non-clinical faculty
Faculty Affairs – please email or call 519.661.2111, ext. 88867 – for clinical faculty


Acting Dean, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry
Distinguished University Professor, Western University

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